It’s impossible to open your laptop or turn on your phone without being served various forms of digital advertising. From Google Adwords or Facebook retargeting to programmatic, pre-roll, native ads and sponsored content. The options, the terminology and the methods can be unwieldy. Despite those barriers, digital ads will only continue to evolve as powerful marketing tools.
You may feel obligated to dive into digital advertising because your peers and competitors are already embracing it. Before you take the leap, pinpoint why you’re making this investment of time and resources.
Start by asking, Why?
- Are you ready to increase your brand visibility alongside competitors who are already advertising?
- Do you need greater exposure as you expand into a new geographic region or industry sector?
- Are you launching a new product, service or event and need to generate traffic to a landing page?
This will help clarify your rationale in advance.
Pinpointing your target audience will inform the channels you use. Selling tickets or products might be a better fit for social media, where you can target your audience based on location, interests, age, or profession. A brand awareness campaign targeting specific sectors or types of decision makers might be better placed on a business media platform or LinkedIn.
You can test a campaign with just one or two channels to a targeted audience. Test, learn and adjust as you go.
Get your program running
Even if you have a basic understanding of how digital advertising works, the methods for building and launching campaigns can be confusing. Some ad platforms are self-service, others are only accessible to an agency or media outlet and everyone selling digital advertising services seems to use their own jargon.
These are the basic options for serving digital ads to your audience:
- Manage your digital ads in-house. The most cost-effective methods are the Google Display Network and social media ad platforms. There is a learning curve but both Google and Facebook/Instagram ad platforms are self-service and commonly where advertisers start.
- Work with an agency that handles programmatic advertising buys. Programmatic advertising is a methodology for purchasing from an inventory of ad space on a variety of websites and utilizes geofencing and audience targeting to deliver a number of impressions. When you want your brand to have increased visibility across diverse channels in front of a specific type of user, programmatic broadens that reach.
- Engage a media outlet or online platform directly. If your organization has a very specific target audience in mind, you can buy direct from a media outlet or website publisher. In this case, you’re negotiating to purchase a specific number of impressions that are guaranteed to appear.
Track your success
One of the benefits of digital advertising is the ability to set up reporting that provides data and indicators of your campaign’s success. Before any of your ads are live, set up Google Analytics so that you can track traffic to your website as it corresponds with your campaigns. If you’re working with an agency or a media outlet, ask for reports that include click through rates, served impressions, cost per click and other metrics.
Be ready to make adjustments to your channels, budget, the messaging or creative and for lead generation campaigns, the landing page. Tracking your success will reduce wasteful spending on campaigns that either aren’t targeted well or need creative improvements.
By Marnie Grumbach